23 Apr The Shoulder Bone’s Connected to the Spine Bone…
So most people wouldn’t realize that your mid-back would be related to your shoulders, but if you’re sitting right now, try to slouch. Go ahead, fully slump down… see how when you do that, your head pokes forward and your shoulders round inward?
Now from that position, try to lift up your arms overhead. Hard to do, right? That is because you need your mid-back to be fairly straight and your chin tucked to get full shoulder movement.
Most people spend too much time slouched forward, and over time your mid-back, neck and shoulders can tend to stay a bit rounded forward, or at least it feels stiff when you try to get out of that position. Your thoracic spine are the 12 middle vertebrae located between your neck and lower back, and connects to your ribcage. When it’s moving well, your back is happy and your neck and shoulders move well too. If your mid-back doesn’t move well, you may develop some aches and pains.
Here’s why mid-back mobility matters:
- Improving your mid-back and shoulder mobility can help with headaches and neck pain.
Upright posture is important. When your thoracic spine is stiff, it’s harder to sit up straight and rotate your upper body. When your mid-back is rounded, your head automatically pokes forward, which can contribute to pain in the neck and even to headaches. But working on the mobility of your mid-back can give you more mobility in the shoulders and neck.
- Better Overhead Movements: when you’re slouching and your mid-back is rounded, you don’t reach overhead well. You need a straight thoracic spine and tucking the chin back in order to achieve full overhead shoulder movements. All of those people you see walking around with a forward head posture and rounded shoulders don’t have normal shoulder movements and can’t take a full deep breath. True story. Practicing an arch through the thoracic spine by relaxing over a foam roller can help improve mobility through the region. Take a few deep breaths to encourage rib expansion while you’re there.
- Smoother Breathing: When your thoracic spine is mobile, your ribcage can move well too, allowing your lungs to fully expand and your diaphragm to descend. This can translate to better performance in whichever activity you choose!
Hopefully you’re seeing it’s important to give your shoulders and thoracic spine a little love.
You might be surprised at how much improving your thoracic spine and shoulder mobility makes you feel better — at the gym and in your day to day life.